Many men realize that the value and beauty of being in a committed relationship is the love, trust and mutual support that a couple share. But some men find it hard to commit because they fear losing themselves and their freedom as the master of their own destiny. How a relationship will affect or change one’s dreams or plans is an unknown that can be frightening. These guys are very concerned about having to check in with a woman and answer probing questions such as, “Where have you been?”

Then there are men who choose to commit because we know we are better in an exclusive relationship with a good woman than we are solo. But there’s a critical combination required: the right woman at the right time. Both elements have to be in sync. If a man wants to be unattached—for whatever reason—it doesn’t matter how right the woman may seem because he doesn’t want the responsibilities of a commitment at that time.

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By contrast, when a man is ready for an exclusive relationship, he will gladly accept the challenges and responsibilities it brings. That often comes after he has established himself economically and is tired of playing the field. That’s the case whether he’s a deliveryman or a doctor—as long as he feels he’s meeting his own expectations of manhood. At that point, a solid union can evolve. The bottom line is that commitment is about loving, trusting, being honest and sharing. And it’s about choosing the right person at the right time to become a true partner in life.

Men will eventually realize that committing to one woman is the true way to satisfy their needs.

William July, M.S.,is the author of Brothers, Lust and Love and other books on men and relationships.